“Three grains of rice and some gold” explores themes of loss, grief, and healing in the context of migration and (after)care. The title holds cultural significance, symbolizing a departure ritual that involves placing three grains of rice and gold paper in the mouth of the deceased before their journey to Nirvana.

It examines rituals and customs from both the artist’s sinosphere and occidental cultural backgrounds, reshaping perspectives on identity, displacement, and belonging within the diasporic community.

The recent loss of a beloved family member revealed the cultural diversity. The exploration of various cultural practices became transformative, offering a way to process grief and connect to a larger context. It is about embracing the fluidity of existence, sharing stories as well as an attempt to break the cycle of inherited trauma.

This body of work aims to inspire others to embrace their cultural heritage and contribute to collective healing. It encourages discussions on preserving and adapting customs to the present day while fostering a sense of calm, acceptance, and renewal within communities.

Bio: Thi My Lien Nguyen is a Swiss-Vietnamese photographer and artist based in Switzerland. In her artistic practice, she deals with the feelings and understanding of belonging, participation, and the sense of home. She is strongly interested in diasporic and post-migrant realities and stories. Through participatory and inclusive methods, performative and culinary activations, she seeks to establish more inclusive spaces to foster understanding and representation between communities. She works with traditions, rituals, folklore, photography, and food. Her work has been exhibited in multiple exhibitions, including the 22nd Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil in São Paulo (2023), Plat(t)form at Fotomuseum Winterthur (2022), and Photo Hanoi at the Vincom Center for Contemporary Art in Hanoi (2021).